Ben Waber Thesis Defense

April 5, 2011


MIT Media Lab, Bartos Theatre (E15, Lower Level)


The goal of this thesis is to show that social support created through face-to-face interaction is a driving factor in a number of important outcomes. Through a series of studies, we show that social support is positively related to important outcomes and that changes in social support is positively related to changes in these outcomes. We then discuss a two-phase study where we experimentally modify break structure to increase levels of social support and demonstrate a corresponding positive change in outcomes. Finally, we show that social support is also qualitatively related to outcomes. To conclude we situate this research under a larger framework that provides direction for future research.

Host/Chair: Alex 'Sandy' Pentland


John Van Maanen, David Krackhardt

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